Funding focuses on disadvantaged, vulnerable, and historically underserved communities
The PG&E Corporation Foundation (Foundation) today announced the four 2021 recipients of the Better Together Resilient Communities grants, a program to support local initiatives to build greater climate resilience in Northern and Central California, with a particular focus on disadvantaged, vulnerable, and historically underserved communities.
The program awarded $100,000 each to the Tribal EcoRestoration Alliance, the Blue Lake Rancheria, the Yurok Tribe, and the City of Richmond, California. The projects are designed to support wildfire prevention, disaster response preparation, and local emergency cooling for extreme heat events.
“In California, the communities we are privileged to serve face a growing threat from a changing climate,” said Carla Peterman, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer for PG&E Corporation. “For the past five years, this program has enabled PG&E to partner with our communities to find new and creative community-driven solutions to build local climate resilience, with a focus on under-represented and vulnerable populations.”
The Better Together Resilient Communities grant program, now in its fifth and final year, has invested $1.7 million in funding from The PG&E Corporation Foundation and $300,000 from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation). Strategies and solutions resulting from the grants are made publicly available to assist all communities in resilience planning and work, and to encourage local and regional partnerships.
The Tribal EcoRestoration Alliance’s project, “Fire as Medicine,” will build capacity and provide Native American tribal members with relevant firefighting certifications to participate in prescribed burns, purchase equipment for participating in prescribed burns, and share traditional tribal knowledge and techniques with a broader audience of practitioners.
“The Tribal EcoRestoration Alliance was founded in 2019 with seed funding from PG&E’s Better Together Resilient Communities grant,” said Lindsay Dailey, Program Director of the alliance. “With PG&E's catalytic support, we have been able to get our program off of the ground in record time to bring indigenous voices to the table around land stewardship, wildfire resilience, and building an eco-culturally literate workforce to meet the challenges of our times.”
The Blue Lake Rancheria’s project, “Humboldt County COAD Launch,” will fund 12-months of rapid start-up activities for the recently formed Humboldt County COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) network, which is designed to help local non-governmental organizations prepare and coordinate for disaster response. The grant will help establish a network of communications in the region, enable disaster response training, and support outreach and information events.
“This support from PG&E’s Better Together Giving Program, in partnership with the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe, enables the Humboldt County Community Organizations Active in Disaster to succeed in this important work for our communities,” said Jason Ramos, Rancheria’s Tribal Councilman. “It will serve all of Humboldt’s people, especially those with economic disadvantages, cultural barriers, access and functional needs, and other impediments to effective emergency preparedness and resilience.”
The Yurok Tribe’s project will use prescribed and cultural burns to collect scientific data on the impacts to soil quality, wildfire fuel, and invasive species and serve as a framework for future studies and wildfire mitigation plans. The project will also support food security by creating a traditional foods calendar to plan for climate-driven changes in seasonality for the foods they depend on for nutrition and culture.
"As a way to keep the environment in balance, Yurok people have implemented prescribed and cultural burns within ancestral territory since time immemorial,” said Louisa McCovey, Yurok Tribe Environmental Program Director. “This project will allow us to quantify some of the benefits of cultural and prescribed burns, such as preventing catastrophic forest fires, reducing invasive species, and improving soil quality for traditional food systems. This grant will also support the creation of a traditional foods calendar, which will quantify past seasonal shifting of traditional food harvest times, increasing cultural resiliency to global climate change by creating a model for future shifts.”
The City of Richmond’s project, “Emergency Cooling Structures for Extreme Heat Events,” will increase access to cooling centers by installing cooling misters and canopies in local parks or community centers. Unsheltered residents will be trained and hired to staff the cooling centers and do outreach, along with a broader effort to educate the public in the ways climate change will directly affect the community and how to reduce that impact.
“The City of Richmond is dedicated to building community resilience to climate change,” said Sasha Curl, interim City Manager. “As global temperatures continue to rise, we must ensure communities have a way to stay cool.” The 2021 Better Together Resilient Communities grant will invest “in a project that will reduce the impacts of extreme heat on our residents while providing employment and training opportunities.”
About the Program
Grant proposals for the Better Together Resilient Communities program were evaluated for the extent to which they were designed to build community resilience and capacity to withstand climate-related hazards. Priority was given to proposals that demonstrated past or projected exposure to climate hazards and that addressed the needs of disadvantaged and/or vulnerable communities. To be eligible, applicants must be a governmental organization, educational institution or 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All applicants must include a local or tribal government within PG&E's service area as a partner.
Please check the Better Together Resilient Communities website for more information.